Orange Turtles

Simon Ridley
Fri 23 May 2014 18:46
LAT 38.35 N LON 46.26
Business as usual today. It’s a hot, sunny day. The ocean being kind to us. We’re cruising above seven knots bang in course toward Horta. To be honest, it feels good. The last few days have been difficult, and hard to articulate. Skipper described it in passing earlier as feeling hollow. I feel similar. It was not an easy thing sailing away from the search area. But we had done what we could. I’ve thought and written about the whole thing, but I’m not sure it’s useful or appropriate to publish here. We are not happy to have left the search operation, we are sad that we didn’t find anything helpful, and we are eager to hear some good news.
But, in a way, we are back to business as usual. If you can call it that. Last night, as I was on watch, with Mauritz asleep on the floor by my feet, the phosphorescence stirred considerably to my left, enough to steal away my attention. I watched it for a few moments and before I even had the chance to wonder what was going on, the perfect, unmistakable silhouette of a shark rose out of the darkness and to the surface. I swore and called to Mauritz and swore again. It was massive. Mauritz remained sleeping so I just stared, gobsmacked. It stayed for perhaps thirty seconds, though it might have been only ten. In those moments the whole miracle scene before me appeared as if under glacial ice. For an instant, the clear blue of the shark held absolutely still, the phosphorescence throbbing about her form, before she flexed and disappeared back into the darkness with stunning grace. The light of the phosphorescence faded and I was left staring into a chasm. And that was that.
Today, we have had a new shout from on deck: “TURTLE! TURTLE! TURTLE! TURTLE!” To our surprise these turtles are orange! Too much time on the sun bed I reckon.
Mauritz has been baking; delicious scones and a fine smelling loaf. Emma is reading, and had a morning steering with the kite on. Skipper is up on deck now, looking strangely like Steven Spielberg with his hat and aviators on. The phone rang once today. The BBC, as ever. I’m typing up the blog, listening to some great music and just staring out at the ocean.
Before we left Bermuda, one of the staff of the World Cruising Club (whose name I sadly don’t recall), gave a short speech that was particularly interesting to me as a (complete) novice. He told us that he had overheard a lot of people talking about various issues they had been having with their boats. He told us not to worry so much. We are on sail boats! And he also said that it is the middle part, when you’re into the swing of things, that we love sailing for. And now I understand. Here we are, near enough bang in the middle, with land distant either way, and I am completely content just staring out into the distance and letting time pass by.
This is the only place I feel that I could deal honestly, well, and deeply with the sad situation that has been unfolding here.